In epic poems of the seventeenth century written in German about the Thirty Years’ War, knowledge is set in motion, especially in the context of genre change and shifts in the generic tradition as well as in the conflictive area between fiction and non-fiction. The generic adjustments are partially caused by the transfer of a Greek and Latin genre model into German. This is illustrated by two examples, Martin Opitz’s Trost-Getichte in Widerwärtigkeit des Krieges, first published in 1633, and Georg Greflingerʼs Der Deutschen Dreißig-Jähriger Krieg, published in 1657.
Epic Poems and Didactic Poetry in the Seventeenth Century (Martin Opitz and Georg Greflinger)
On the Genre History of Epic Verse Poetry in the German Cultural Sphere (Zur Gattungsgeschichte epischer Versdichtungen im deutschen Kulturraum)
Uwe Maximilian Korn, Dirk Werle and Katharina Worms
The special issue at hand provides a contribution to the historical exploration of early modern carmina heroica (epic poems) in the German area of the early modern period, especially of the ‘long’ 17th century. To this purpose, perspectives of Latin and German Studies, of researchers with expertise in medieval and modern literary history, are brought together. This introductory article puts the following theses up for discussion: 1) The view that epic poems of the early modern period are a genre with little relevance for the history of literature is wrong and has to be corrected. 2) Accordingly, the view has to be corrected that the history of narrative in the modern era leads teleologically to the modern novel. 3) For the exploration of the history of carmina heroica, the traditions of didactic poems and heroic poems have to be taken into consideration together. 4) Epic poems of the ‘long’ 17th century have a particular tendency to generic hybridization. 5) The genre history of carmina heroica can be reconstructed appropriately only by taking into account the vernacular as well as the Latin tradition.